By Wolfgang Sannwald
Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel and the murder of civilians, earthquake aftermath in Afghanistan, Russia’s mass-murderous missile attack against Ukraine, renewed attacks by Syria’s Assad regime on Idlib: October 7 and 8, 2023 was one of the weekends full of disasters—mainly man-made disasters. At tünews INTERNATIONAL, we strive to provide opinion-free news and reports. We usually succeed because we research and report on what concretely helps refugees living in Germany to cope with their daily lives. But that doesn’t mean we don’t discuss day-to-day political issues—on the contrary. Our editorial meetings provide a protected setting for open exchange.
At the editorial meeting on October 10, 2023, horror and compassion for the civilian victims prevailed. Editorial board members from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Ukraine or Germany agreed: “Civilians from both sides have to pay the bill.” On the one hand, editorial board members from Syria reported that they could no longer follow the news on Israel and Palestine, “our hearts are traumatized”. On the other hand, family members and friends are personally affected, in Idlib, in Gaza. An editorial board member lost five family members in Gaza from Saturday to Tuesday. Another’s brother and family live in Idlib. There are constant questions: How are you, what is happening? Those affected communicate during every break at work. At home, some people watch Arabic-language programs on television all day long. What connects them are their personal relationships, their own experiences of violence and flight—“we know what it looks like”.
Those who have personal connections to the disaster areas and follow the events in their language of origin express “surprise” at local media reports. This is a major topic in the editorial meeting: Which conflicts and disasters are covered by the media at all, and what perspective do they convey? Together, we watch video clips from Arabic-language media and channels and receive translations. It becomes clear that there are at least two fundamentally different perspectives in the world. In Germany, images and films from an Israeli perspective are most common, while Arabic-language broadcasters and social channels convey an Arab view. Many films from Arabic-language sources show the perspective of people in Gaza who fear above all the counterattacks of the Israeli army. Individual editorial board members feel downright provoked by reports in German media “because they only show one side”. Three out of nine people present have the impression that they are not allowed to freely express their sympathy and solidarity with the people in Palestine in Germany. At the same time, they do not support Hamas. It is wrong to equate Palestine and Hamas.
Editorial board members who are of German origin are particularly shocked by the brutal terrorist attacks by Hamas against the Israeli civilian population, for example the mass murder among visitors to the “Nature Party Festival” on the grounds of Kibbutz Re’im near Gaza on October 8. All editorial board members reject terrorism. The editorial meeting also dealt with Germany’s basic commitment to the right of the State of Israel to exist. Chancellor Angela Merkel has described this as a reason of state. Anyone who knows this basic creed can better understand the orientation of the media and many people in Germany. This confession can be derived from the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany. To some extent, the Basic Law is a reaction to the mass murder of more than six million people of Jewish origin, which the Nazi regime, legitimized by a majority of the German people in 1933, committed using state power. Those who naturalize commit themselves to the Basic Law and its fundamental principles.
One editorial board member mentioned at least one piece of good news from the weekend: The Iranian human and women’s rights activist Narges Mohammadi received the Nobel Peace Prize. However: she has been imprisoned in Iran for three years.
Symbol für den Frieden: die Taube. Foto: tünews INTERNATIONAL / Martin Klaus